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‘T he H eaviest W eight ’: C ircularity and R epetition in a S ong by H ugo W olf

‘T he H eaviest W eight ’: C ircularity and R epetition in a S ong by H ugo W olf ABSTRACT The songs of Hugo Wolf continue to intrigue music theorists, not least because of their characteristic fusion of traditional tonal conventions with sophisticated chromatic processes. This article analyses a particularly intricate example: ‘Mühvoll komm ich und beladen’ from the Spanisches Liederbuch. The song projects a complex pattern of tonal relationships that reinforces an obsessive sense of repetition and circularity – issues that are explicit in the song's poetic text. The present reading engages a number of external sources, including the philosophy of Nietzsche, the operatic figure of Kundry and the myth of Sisyphus. These elements provide a series of cultural co‐ordinates that together serve to illuminate primary facets of the song's structure, including its formal design and distinctive harmonic syntax. Each of these topics is considered in the service of a larger, overriding purpose: to reveal the ways in which the composer seeks to characterise sin and spiritual torment using techniques of cyclic organisation. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Music Analysis Wiley

‘T he H eaviest W eight ’: C ircularity and R epetition in a S ong by H ugo W olf

Music Analysis , Volume 25 (3) – Oct 1, 2006

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0262-5245
eISSN
1468-2249
DOI
10.1111/j.1468-2249.2006.00244.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

ABSTRACT The songs of Hugo Wolf continue to intrigue music theorists, not least because of their characteristic fusion of traditional tonal conventions with sophisticated chromatic processes. This article analyses a particularly intricate example: ‘Mühvoll komm ich und beladen’ from the Spanisches Liederbuch. The song projects a complex pattern of tonal relationships that reinforces an obsessive sense of repetition and circularity – issues that are explicit in the song's poetic text. The present reading engages a number of external sources, including the philosophy of Nietzsche, the operatic figure of Kundry and the myth of Sisyphus. These elements provide a series of cultural co‐ordinates that together serve to illuminate primary facets of the song's structure, including its formal design and distinctive harmonic syntax. Each of these topics is considered in the service of a larger, overriding purpose: to reveal the ways in which the composer seeks to characterise sin and spiritual torment using techniques of cyclic organisation.

Journal

Music AnalysisWiley

Published: Oct 1, 2006

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